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There’s a measure of clarity that comes when you’re on the 5th night of working past 4am on a project. That clarity pertains primarily to the idea that I am doing work for the sake of saying I’m working instead of working towards a goal. And, upon further assessment, I can genuinely say that I am working on a project that I’d rather not be involved with and in doing so, it reminds me of the fact that I have a consistent streak of being unable to decide on which direction to take projects these days. Such is every other aspect of my life, AND I need to change it.
So, I’m going back to square one.
This time 10 years ago I purchased the domain aldanzopratt.com. I had no real idea what I would use it for and I knew absolutely nothing about the concept of blogging, but I did understand that in terms of branding it would be useful, if for nothing else, the ability to place a web address on my business card ((Yeah, I was thinking about business cards and stuff when I was 21)).
In some form, I’ve had this blog for 8 years, and yet, I only have 150 posts total. In reasoning why, I point to posts like this and this, and finally, this. Indeed, I have deleted all of my old posts and started over every year for the past 4 years. I have no true reason why, save for the idea that I allow the winds of change to sweep me away, leaving my blog rather empty.
Unable to decide on a particular domain, over the past 8 years this blog has resided at aldanzopratt.com, and aldanzo.com, and aldanzopratt.com, and danzo.tv, and…. alpratt.com. This, of course, is in addition to danzo.org, danzo.info, aldanzopratt.mobi, aldanzopratt.info, danzo.me, alpratt.info, and alpratt.net.
Over the last 3 years, I’ve had 7 different business card designs, 4 alone in the past year.
The consistent themes in my life over the past few years have been dissatisfaction and lack of a singular focus. I have been plagued with the inability to settle on a singular idea or of a plan of action. In assessing, my father has consistently told me that:
I need to discover my passion….
On that point, I am in full agreement. It appears that I’m always searching for that missing piece. There are so many things that I do that others are much more passionate about. I sing, I write a lot, I design for others, I create constantly, I’m engaged in the youth ministry at my congregation, I co-produce an awards show, and yet, none of those individuals items really move me. Even as I pull all of those individual ideas together under an umbrella and term it all Marketing, it still doesn’t drive me on a consistent basis. In terms of work, I go at it hard; I always have. But, none of that is really getting me anywhere in terms of fulfillment. I would spend hours on end in the library researching and studying and trying to be great in school, so much so that I nearly drove myself insane with desire and want. I believe, by my own personal count, I spent 5 consecutive years worth of Fridays in my mid-twenties holed up in my room reading and writing instead of experiencing anything else. I love reading and writing, but even that isn’t my true passion. My parents are constantly telling me that I need to build better relationships; that, in doing so it will allow me to narrow my focus to what truly matters in life. That, in finding solace in that relationship, I will find a passion in something else altogether. I agree. And, that’s something i’m working on constantly.
I’m seeking a change. It’s always unsettling to look back on how indecisive I have been for the past few years. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I never feel comfortable with the overall quality of the work that I’m producing, be it writing, or strategic work, of something arbitrary. I have a tendency to over-do things even while not being thorough and this has caused me to accomplish less, even while doing more in an effort to stay busy. This lack of balance in thinking and working is really killing any forward momentum I build when I finally am able to deliver a finished project.
And, so, I am resolving to simplify everything. I am planning to do less projects this year, but, do those projects BETTER. I want the work that I complete this year to be meaningful. I have made a personal vow to stick with this particular domain for the entire year. I want to see what I can accomplish if my focus is singularly centered on the current project at hand and not on 7 or 8 projects that I need not be involved with.
In the end, we all get exactly what we ask for… So, you better think hard on it and then be very specific in your asking.
It’s a part of me and my life; the constant pinging of my blackberry all day. The reading and replying to the emails and text messages. I’ve come to love communication. In many ways it serves as a mental departure from all that is going on in life. But, I have an equal affinity for time spent with my phone on silent, with my journal in hand, deep in reflection and thought. I enjoy being able to clear my head of everything else in the world, to isolate myself and to delve deep into the confines of my mind. It’s my way of avoiding a longstanding tendency towards regression.
When I was young, I was considered
somewhat of a hothead. I would get so emotional, so riled and I would lose my temper and would fuss and argue and get angry and would constantly find myself on the verge of hyperventilation. It was the saddest scene, but, it was the most honest part of me. I did not understand how to process what I was going through. Helplessness often brings about our truest emotions. I used to feel like I had no other way to cope with things than to simply roll up in a ball, pout, and then be the most ornery individual to be around.
It’s been years since I’ve done any of that. It’s a complete 180 in terms of the way I handle stress and confrontation. People who’ve only known me as an adult comment on how they never see me yell. I’m not into yelling; I’m seldom into arguing. I’m generally the one capable of keeping a level head and analyzing the situation before reacting.
It’s been a long journey.
A few years go, after continually finding myself with hurt feelings, I decided that none of my decisions moving forward would be based in emotion. Emotions are great in their purpose; they enlighten us to our bias towards empathy. But, they should never be used as a basis for decision making. There’s a rather superfluous nature about emotions of which I care not to allow to overtake my mindset.
I’ve made it a practice of listening to Earl Nightingale’s audiobook “Lead the Field” at least once a month. There’s one concept that I’ve taken away from it that drives me on a daily basis; Thinking. It’s the simplest ideal, but one i’ve come to realize many people don’t seem to apply to their lives too often. I’ve come to realize the truth in his words, that people often never think, but rather react. Many people, if they’re honest, never think.
Devoid of emotion or a concern for other people’s reactions, I choose to drown out the world and think. No crying, no anger, no frustration. Just meditation. I don’t think to arrive at a decision, but rather to arrive at greater clarity. I’ve come to understand that many of the decisions I need to make that are thought upon are already in front of me.
There is much that is elementary about what we need to do. We simply can’t see what we need to do because we have too much emotion attached to the thought process. It’s a practice I’ve tried to do away with; the motion of beginning to reflect, only to be bombarded by feelings associated with the surrounding situation.
I want to grow into a better processor of thoughts. I want to be even clearer in my understanding of self, so that I am capable to know which direction my thinking should go in and how I can better come to the aid of those around me who seek guidance. There’s a certain altruism associated with meditation in that it allows you to be better suited to assist others as your mind is now free.
Meditation, for me, allows for the subtle nuances that may be a hindrance to otherwise good thinking to drift away, and allow me to then see situations for what they really are. It allows me to regard things that are occurring in my life to be put into proper perspective. There’s a sense of gratitude that goes along with the meditation process, a reality that I’m blessed to be of sound enough mind to even collect thoughts to be processed. It takes the seemingly major trials of life and reduces them to compact scenarios of which I can see clearly enough to resolve.
It was just one year ago…
It’s amazing how, if you stop and take a look back, you can see just how much you’ve evolved over a short period of time. It was exactly one year ago that I sat up late at night and wondered whether I should take the plunge and enter my first relationship (not counting my 41-day dating fiasco when I was 17). So, I made the move; and, thus began the seismic shift in my life. Since that time last year, I’ve had a ton of firsts:
There are many other firsts, but, I digress…
I find it amazing that I find some sense of accomplishment in finally having performed activities that maybe all 13-year-olds have done. But, I’ve always been different. And, part of being different is living in your own little world. And, living in your own little world means having a filter that allows you to block out the desire to do any of those things. But, I ended up with a girl who was all about doing those very things for fun. She introduced those activities to me and I ended up enjoying myself. She made it fun. And, In the process, I came to wonder how I’d ever gone without doing those things before.
A year ago, board games wouldn’t have been a priority to me on any level. It was just the way my life was configured. But, there’s a certain simplistic beauty and a genuine joy in letting go for a few minutes and relaxing. It didn’t matter to me if I won or lost, the fact that my mind was far away from everything else and centered on the game was enough for me. I enjoyed cheating at Monopoly, I loved talking trash during Phase 10. It became a part of my being; I came to love game time. I came to long for it on days I wasn’t able to play.
I’m constantly telling people that I’m not wired like other guys. Good, bad, or indifferent; I’ve ALWAYS operated in my own little space. That it took me 30 years before I watched a horror movie or played Monopoly or Candy Land should be proof positive of that fact. But, I continue to learn that it’s the little things that make the journey worth while. I continue to evolve as an person, and in doing so, I grow to understand how much satisfaction can come from simply being near other people.
I recount the days that have passed over the last year….
I never thought I could find such happiness in engaging in simple tasks; going to the beach, popping in a movie, or even just holding a conversation. It’s an enduring feeling; joy. Joy, but also, a feeling that I can’t simply resort back to the old me that was inclined to stress the minor details instead of enjoying the small and ever-present joys of life.
They say it’s the little things. I now believe them.
So, as it rains this morning, and, before I prepare to head out, I’m playing a board game [virtual Monopoly]. And, I’m probably going to play a few others before the day is done. And, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the simplicity of it all and be thankful that someone introduced me to them.
I’m continually seeking to live a minimalist lifestyle.
It’s a journey involving peaks and valleys and it finds me at various points of accumulation and dispersal.
As I left Ft. Myers in 2009 after 7 years of living there, Everything I had acquired and owned could fit in my car ((2005 Chevy Malibu // Pretty sizable backseat and trunk)).
I’m always seeking to live a rather minimalist lifestyle. It goes back a few years to when I was ill and had nothing but time to lay around all day and look at all of the junk I had acquired over my life. A large part of me had been infatuated with material excesses and it had gotten to be a really hectic experience to keep track of everything. The purge sometimes is the hardest part. After letting go of game systems and televisions, and computers, I’ve vowed never again to be inclined to live my life by the standard of stuff. Today, I don’t care to have too many possessions; I;m been more inclined to have my essential possessions be quality possessions.
Indeed, I now have a bias towards minimalism. But, minimalism as defined by a need to have all essential items near me at all times, thus, a necessity to consolidate my needs to a very small number of essential items, and further, clearly define for myself the word essential. In my world, the most essential items are the ones I take along with me on a daily basis in my bag.
With that thinking, I’ve gone through periods over the past four or five years where I’ve made adjustments in the type of essentials I need with me at all times.
I’m continuing to reduce the amount of stuff in my life. I’ve given away a lot of my possessions, and I’m planning to devote more time to finding more ways to consolidate. From reorganizing my music and video library on my computer, to digitizing all of my paper.
Less clothes, less junk, less stress.
How do I put this kindly?
I could go out for Ice cream… But then…. I’D DIE!!!!
Yeah, not so much (I don’t think), but, my body has a strong aversion to dairy. So, we’ll just defer.
Overpriced pre-packaged convenience store cake slice? That’s sounds about right.
Of late, My days are feeling longer.
It’s not because I’m in any sort of disarray or having a crisis of any sort. From a logistical standpoint, life couldn’t be better right now. I’m working on some great projects, I’m building deeper relationships with my friends, I’m finding my place within the congregation I attend.
My thought processes are lengthening my days as I am continually inundated with ideas.
My days are increasing filled with thoughts of work and of grad school and possibly law school, and church and family, and friends, and how every one of those elements has its very own uniquely meaningful place of existence in my life.
A large part of adulthood is understanding who exactly you are. It’s been a process of self-realization that continues to point me in the direction of design strategist ((It would take too long to explain the work of a design strategist, so, I’ll just say, I make stuff)) as my life’s work.
My past week has been busy with me designing processes for NACAMA and my home congregations youth ministry. I’m working on a new model and revisiting my senior research work on Performance Management at the Local Congregation.
It’s been a good to step away from the challenge, but, I’m back. Ready to finish the challenge.
I think it’s the weirdest thing to see people have to attach the word friend to every greeting to the opposite sex these days. It’s, “Hi, Friend!!”, or “How’s it going, friend“, or, my favorite, “I miss you, friend“. It’s weird because, of all the things… for you to take the time to post a message on someone’s wall or send a twitter message or reach out in any way, there’s a direct implication that you all are friends..
I don’t know what it says about our state of affairs that people can’t be cordial without it being mistaken as flirting.
I’m more at ease with the process these days. Guys introduce themselves to each other much different than guys introduce themselves to girls. I think I held an entire conversation the other day on Herman Cain and at the very end, “Bro, what’s your name?”. With girls, I think there’s an inherent need for the exchanging of names at the very beginning of a conversation. I have no clue why, but, it always seems to be, “Excuse me, what’s your name?” somewhere in the first few words exchanged with each other. Lame. I know.
Hey, I like being friendly. I think we all need to be more friendly. But, friendships and meeting people goes sideways when dealing with the opposite sex. For me, it got weird and I stopped reaching out to people via social media for a short while. I think I’m mature enough to handle it, and, the other person is mature enough to handle it, but, it’s always a third part out there… for a while, I swore that the only way I’d be communicating with people was through email or, if need be, the occasional facebook inbox message. Didn’t work out either… There’s something sorta creepy-old-man/stalkerish about sending emails to people you don’t know.. and, for people you do know, well, it’s kinda informal.
So, I’m just back to being Don. Trying to be a gentleman.. Cordial, yet, cautious. And, in an effort to step outside of my comfort zone, am trying to be more social, sans the media. I want to meet new people Face to face.
That being said… I did reach out and introduce myself to someone new… It was weird and awkward [the way all great introductions should be] and it was simple. I’m sure there was nothing about it that said, “Let’s get married”, so, I think we’re good. And, I think I made a new friend. Good Times!